Race abuse for family given home keys by Leo

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Race abuse for family given home keys by Leo

A DUBLIN family given keys to a social house last week by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have faced a storm of online racial abuse.

The Omars and their four children, including one who has a disability, were pictured at the official opening of the new homes with Dublin North-West TD Noel Rock and Mr Varadkar.

Mr Rock shared the picture online and this drew a wave of racist abuse aimed at the family, including a threat to “start burning them out”.

Mr Rock’s office has also received complaints, with one constituent questioning why the family were housed over “Irish families”.

The TD hit out at the vitriol expressed online. “The comments and abuse aimed at this family are completely out of order,” he said.

“This development has 42 homes for 42 families. Families come in all shapes and sizes and – indeed – colours.

“While people can have legitimate concerns and grievances about challenges facing society such as housing, singling out any person or family for being less deserving of something because of their skin colour is the wrong thing to do.”

A report published last week showed that Ireland is among the most diverse countries in Europe, with one in six people born elsewhere.

However, Shane O’Curray, of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) Ireland, said in recent months there had been an increase in “balder and bolder expressions of racism and hatred”.

ENAR Ireland is engaged in a Europe-wide project monitoring social media to ensure tech giants are removing racist comments. Some of the comments expressed in the wake of Stuart Carolan’s Taken Down show on RTE about Direct Provision shocked even seasoned professionals who work to tackle racism, Mr O’Curray said.

He suggested a shift to the right in what has become acceptable political discourse worldwide was emboldening people to express racist views.

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Mr O’Curray also warned of the need to take seriously online racial commentary in general as “what’s being expressed online gets translated into acts of violence”.

Sunday Independent

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